LSU's Blake Dean at Alex Box Stadium
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
No. 2 Baseball Takes on MSU for SEC Title
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Published: May 13, 2009, 12:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 29, 2009, 03:38 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- Second-ranked LSU (39-14, 18-9 SEC) travels to Starkville, Miss. this week for a Southeastern Conference matchup with Mississippi State (24-27,8-18 SEC) at Dudy Noble Field.

LSU enters the final weekend of SEC regular-season play with a half-game lead over Alabama (17-9) and a one-game lead over Florida (17-10) and Ole Miss (17-10) in the league standings. The Tigers are seeking their first SEC regular-season title since 2003 and the 14th baseball league championship in school history.

The Tigers’ series win over Florida last weekend marked LSU’s eighth in nine SEC weekends this season. LSU has won 12 of its last 13 league series, dating back to last season

Game 1 of the LSU-Mississippi State series begins at 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday, Game 2 starts at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday, and first pitch for Game 3 is 2 p.m. CT Saturday.

The games will be carried by the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM.
 
Live video, audio and stats of all three games may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. (NOTE: The live video stream will be courtesy of Mississippi State's website and will include the Bulldogs' radio call.)

Thursday’s game will be televised lived by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).

Friday’s game will be televised live on KPBN (Cable Ch. 113 in Baton Rouge) and on Pelican Sports (Cable Ch. 713 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette). Friday’s game will also be shown on a tape-delayed basis at 10 p.m. on Cox Sports Television.

Saturday’s game will not be televised.

“This is why our players come to LSU, to play for championships,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I told the guys that from now until the end of the season, we’ll be playing for a championship every weekend. This week, we’re trying to win the SEC championship, next week we’ll try to defend our SEC Tournament title, and then we’ll compete in the NCAA Tournament. We’re excited about this final stretch of the season because all of our goals are in front of us.”

Mainieri said sophomore right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (6-3, 3.10 ERA) will start Thursday’s game on the mound for LSU. Senior right-hander Louis Coleman (10-2, 2.45 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Tigers on Friday, and sophomore right-hander Austin Ross (5-6, 5.09 ERA) will be Saturday’s starting pitcher.

Ranaudo leads the SEC with 112 strikeouts this season, and he is the first LSU pitcher to reach the 100-strikeout plateau since 2002, when Bo Pettit recorded 112 Ks.

Coleman leads the conference in wins (10) and opponent batting average (.205), and he is No. 4 in strikeouts (99).

Mississippi State coach John Cohen will counter with junior left-hander Tyler Whitney (3-4, 5.25 ERA) on Thursday, and freshman left-hander Nick Routt (5-3, 3.89 ERA) on Friday. The Bulldogs’ starting pitcher on Saturday has not yet been determined.

LSU enters Thursday’s game batting .313 as a team with 80 home runs and 97 stolen bases. LSU is third in the SEC in batting average, sixth in homers and first in steals. The Tigers have a 4.25 team ERA, which ranks No. 3 in the league.

LSU is led at the plate by sophomore second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who is hitting .349 with 10 doubles, three triples, four homers and 28 RBI.

Junior first baseman Sean Ochinko is batting .341 with 12 doubles, seven homers and 44 RBI, while junior designated hitter is batting .333 with 12 doubles, 12 homers and 52 RBI.

Junior leftfielder Ryan Schimpf is hitting .328 on the year with a team-best 16 homers.

Mississippi State is eighth in the SEC with a .298 team batting average, and the Bulldogs rank eighth in the league in home runs (58) and fifth in stolen bases (68).

Mississippi State is led at the plate by junior infielder Russ Sneed, who is hitting .339 with eight doubles, one triple, nine homers and 42 RBI. Junior infielder Jet Butler is batting .333 with 12 doubles, four homers and 36 RBI, and junior catcher Ryan Duffy is hitting .327 with six doubles, nine homers and 29 RBI.

Junior infielder Connor Powers is hitting .294 with team-highs of 14 doubles, 17 homers and 58 RBI.
 
Mississippi State leads the all-time series with LSU, 193-162-1, though the Tigers have won five of the last six and 13 of the last 19 meetings between the clubs. Most recently, LSU won two of three games in Starkville in 2007, and the Tigers swept three games from the Bulldogs last season in Baton Rouge.

The Tigers have a 17-13 lead in their 30 meetings with Mississippi State this decade. Last season’s LSU sweep over the Bulldogs was the first in the series since 1992, when LSU won all three games over MSU in the original Alex Box Stadium.

#2 LSU Fighting Tigers (39-14, 18-9) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (24-27, 8-18)

DATES/TIMES 
Thursday, May 14 6:30 p.m. CT; Friday, May 15 6:30 p.m. CT; Saturday, May 16 2 p.m. CT

STADIUM
Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss.

RANKINGS
LSU - No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball; No. 2 by Baseball America; No. 3 by USA Today/ESPN
Mississippi State - unranked
 
RADIO
LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates
The Baton Rouge affiliate is WDGL 98.1 FM

INTERNET
www.LSUsports.net live video, audio and stats for all three games

TV

  • Thursday’s game will be televised lived by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).
  • Friday’s game will be televised live on KPBN (Cable Ch. 113 in Baton Rouge) and on Pelican Sports (Cable Ch. 713 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette). Friday’s game will also be shown on a tape-delayed basis at 10 p.m. on Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge).
  • No TV on Saturday

SERIES RECORD
Mississippi State leads, 193-162-1 (teams first met in 1905)

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Game 1
LSU So. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (6-3, 3.10 ERA, 78.1 IP, 29 BB, 112 SO)
MSU Jr. LHP Tyler Whitney (3-4, 5.25 ERA, 60.0 IP, 27 BB, 44 SO)

Game 2
LSU Sr. RHP Louis Coleman (10-2, 2.45 ERA, 84.1 IP, 18 BB, 99 SO)
MSU Fr.LHP Nick Routt (5-3, 3.89 ERA, 78.2 IP, 23 BB, 82 SO)                                       

Game 3
LSU So. RHP Austin Ross (5-6, 5.09 ERA, 63.2 IP, 14 BB, 56 SO)
MSU TBA

 

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